Transnational Early Modern Drama Violence, Emotion, and Political Theater

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This article explores the survival of violent revenge drama across the seventeenth century in a complex transnational canon performed by English, Dutch, and German traveling players and in city theaters, from the Netherlands eastward to the northern German principalities, Scandinavia, Poland, and Austria. In these performance contexts, English, Dutch, Spanish, and some Italian and French plays were translated and adapted. This picture thus complicates the view that European theater was greatly influenced by the rise of neoclassical drama in Paris and that drama was thereby "pacified."This theatrical dimension was also ignored by observers of the theater in the period. Such theatrical mobility in European society is usually seen as a facet of one national tradition, or the impact of one tradition upon another, not the interaction of many. The transnational repertoires constituted an anti-Spanish, anti~uthern European, antiHabsburg, anti-tyrannical drama that upheld righteous princes and wronged servants of the state. The argument is exemplified by detailed comparison with the originals of the Dutch and German versions of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (ca. 1582-1592, 1st printed ed. 1592), William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (ca. 1588-1593, 1st printed ed. 1594), and the Dutch version of Lope de Vega's La jum.a lastimosa (1599, 1st printed ed. 1609; "Pitiful Force"). A contrast in focus is shown in plays only associated with particular cities: Vondel's Gijsbrecht van Amstel (1638) and Daniel Caspar von Lohenstein's Epicharis (1665). Medievalia et Humanistica, New Series, Number 48 (Reinhold F. Glel and Maik Go~, eds.), Rowman Be litdefield,2023. 109.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)109-134
Number of pages26
JournalMedievalia et Humanistica
Issue number48
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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